New Jersey

25-Year-Old Man Indicted in Death of Hofstra Grad

A 25-year-old man has been indicted and formally charged in the case of a missing Hofstra graduate from Stamford, Connecticut who prosecutors say was stabbed 15 times in the chest in a luxury Manhattan apartment and then buried in a shallow grave in New Jersey.

A grand jury Monday indicted James Rackover on charges of concealing a human corpse, tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. Lawrence Dilione, 28, who was also arrested last week in the death of Joey Comunale, surrendered his passport at a court appearance Tuesday, which means he can be released if he makes the $300,000 cash bail, according to the Manhattan district attorney's office. 

Rackover also continues to be held on $3 million bond or $300,000 cash bail. 

Police initially arrested both men on second-degree murder charges in the death of Comunale, but prosecutors did not bring that charge against them in a criminal complaint pending further investigation. 

Police said the 26-year-old Comunale appears to have been stabbed to death in some sort of dispute after he, Rackover, Dilione, and three women returned from the Gilded Lily nightclub on 14th Street late Saturday or early Sunday.

One official said that Comunale was stabbed sometime after the three women left Rackover’s apartment, but police aren't sure how the body was removed from the apartment.

"I look forward to what our review of the evidence will reveal," Rackover’s attorney said after his client was arraigned Thursday night. 

Dilione's attorney, Daniel Parker, couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Rackover was born James Beaudoin in Florida and has a criminal record, including for burglary. The Broward County Sheriff's office provided NBC News with several mug shots of him from as early as 2007.

He was also charged with driving while intoxicated in New York City in 2015. 

Court records shows that Beaudoin changed his last name to Rackover in 2015 after he was taken under the wing of jeweler-to-the-stars Jeffery Rackover, who owns Jeffrey Rackover Diamonds on Fifth Avenue. The two met in 2013 and became so close that Rackover referred to Beaudoin as his son, according to former NYPD detective Bo Dietl, who is a friend of the famed jeweler.

Rackover was aware of Beaudoin’s rough past and helped him get a job and an apartment in his building after meeting him, Dietl said, adding that Rackover never had kids and embraced Beaudoin as his own.

Comunale graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in legal studies in business and was an avid hockey player.

"He was one of a kind," Comunale's stunned father, Pat, told reporters from his Connecticut home last Wednesday. "We're just in denial. This is not something that happens to kids like this. I don't know if it was pre-meditated. I don't know how it happened."

"He didn't deserve this," he added. "He didn't go looking for trouble. It wasn't right. This is not right."

A wake for Comunale is being held at Lacerenza Funeral Home in Stamford Tuesday, and funeral services will be held Wednesday morning at St. Leo's Church in Stamford.

"Joey was very active in Stamford, where he touched hundreds of individuals whether at the hockey rink, softball field or socializing with too many of his friends to mention," according to an obituary published online

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